Tue, 25 June 2019
Lesley’s just back from the Community Land Scotland conference at Sabhal Mor Ostaig on Skye where the rural housing crisis, facing young people in particular, was the key topic.
Lesley questions whether the Scottish government is doing enough to tackle the desperate situation particularly, in the light of its opposition to the Andy Wightman amendments to the Planning Bill.
We just can’t escape from Brexit and I have a wee look at the UK government’s proposed replacement for the EU structural funds which will be administered, not from Edinburgh, but London. This takes us, surprisingly, into a more complex area of “power grabs” than you might imagine, and wondering when, and if, the Scottish Greens can emulate the campaigning success of their European sister parties.
By way of the Northern Powerhouse and City deals, it all made sense as we went along, we finish up discussing the great article by Fintan O’Toole on the potential of Scotland to be a new kind of state.
And we just couldn’t let the Tory Party leadership election go unmentioned, try as hard as we might.
Wed, 19 June 2019
It's the morning after the night before and, as we promised, we try and dissect the Tory party leadership debate on BBC 1.
We focus, not just on the performances of the candidates, but the format and the poison chalice of chairing handed to Emily Maitliss.
The latest YouGov poll revealed that Tory party members were quite willing to see the breakup of their precious union, damage to the economy, and the destruction of their party rather than fail to achieve Brexit. Lesley tries to figure out what this means to the Conservative and Unionist Party and where it leaves Ruth Davidson.
The questions, chair, and format of Scotland's first Citizens Assembly has been announced. Is this a welcome development or a missed opportunity for a genuinely radical first step towards independence?
Planning isn't a headline grabbing topic, just ask Lesley who's trying to get an article commissioned by any Scottish newspaper, but stage 3 of The Planning Bill (Scotland) is currently making its way through Holyrood. What does the reaction of the Scottish government to the raft of amendments say about its relationship with the Scottish business establishment?
We end with some reflections on the Scottish women's final group game in the World Cup, and I chip in on the fairy tale story of the Afghan cricket team.
Tue, 11 June 2019
We kick off this week’s podcast with the unavoidable bunfight that is the race for the Tory party leadership (I defy you to name the 10th contender without Googling him).
Lesley focuses on the broadcast media’s coverage of what is an entirely internal Conservative party issue but one with major implications for the wider public.
Almost seamlessly we switch to examining Ruth Davidson’s support for Sajid Javid, has she backed the wrong candidate given Boris Johnson’s early lead amongst Conservative MPs and what will the impact be on the Scottish branch if he’s elected?
We also touch on Richard Leonard’s recent announcement of Scottish Labour’s u turn on a second EU referendum where they’d argue for Remain.
My tweet on the birthday honours list certainly got Twitter excited and as Lesley lets us know, in no uncertain terms, her views, I consider why the actions of our” heroes” resonate so strongly with some of us.
Last week’s section on Mondragon and cooperatives led to some great feedback and after that I decided to look into what was happening in Scotland in a wee bit more depth with some surprising results.
Lesley visited the fantastic Shieling Project, an off-grid learning centre in Glen Strathfarrar. The project is all about outdoor living and the tradition of the shieling where folk lived outdoors all summer herding the cattle.
Naturally we couldn’t ignore the Scotland Women’s World Cup campaign and Lesley returns to its coverage across the media.
Tue, 4 June 2019
Lesley has just submitted her, nine years in the making, PhD thesis on the Norwegian and Scottish hutting movements. She reflects on what these two very different experiences can tell us about the economics of power lying beneath the surface of UK democracy.
This leads us, neatly I reckon, into the Preston Model of local economic democracy and the story of the Mondragon Cooperative.
Trump has landed in London for his state visit. Just what can the coverage of the event by both the British and US media tell us about our democracies in the "post-truth" era.
Sir Ed Davey and Jo Swinson are the two candidates to replace Vince Cable of the resurgent, in England anyway Dems. Lesley wonders, once Brexit is stripped away, just how progressive is the party of the austerity coalition.
We finish with a shameless plug for the new movie about Elton John, Rocketman, not too many spoilers, and congratulations to Liverpool on winning the Champions League.
There’re the usual meanderings along the way plus Tory leadership hopeful gaffes.